Rising Stars

Over the years, we have posted hundreds of our students on our website who have gone on to achieve success at higher and higher levels. We are very proud of them—and proud of the good effort they have put in to "hit their potentials."

With due respect to all our students around the country, from here on, we can post only a few of the many deserving hitters who make the headlines and turn the heads of scouts and recruiters. We wish we had enough "real estate" on our server to include them all!

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Brooks Beisner
19
Auburn University
 

Brooks Beisner, 6-2, 215, OF, R/R, St. Pete Junior College/Port Charlotte, FL

  • Is in his second year at St. Pete JC where he plays for Dave Pano
  • Hit .330 with four home runs and 42 RBI last year at St. Pete
  • Played at Charlotte HS in Port Charlotte, FL
  • 2008 Sarasota Classic First Team All-Tournament
  • 2008 Tommy Murphy Leadership Award winner
  • 2008 Sun Herald First Team All-Area
  • 2008 Sarasota Herald Tribune First Team All-Area

Auburn Coach Pawlowski on Beisner...
"Brooks established himself as one of the top junior college hitters in the state of Florida this fall. He will bring an experienced bat into our program at a time when we will be looking to replace much of our offense from our current team. Brooks brings a polished, consistent swing with excellent right-handed power."

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Bunker Hill Community College Bulldogs
Boston, MA
 Mike & Jake,
 
Once again, I am thrilled to report that your techniques have taken our program to new levels of success.  Last year's team was committed to the core movements and proprietary drills taught using the Epstein Hitting System.  I cannot express my thanks for all of the support Epstein Hitting has provided to our program.
 
The starting nine players posted a staggering .412 team batting average and BHCC was ranked Number Two in the country in team batting (.387). BHCC averaged 9.75 runs scored per game.
 
In this coaching staff's first season, BHCC won it's first Massachusetts Community College Athletic Conference (MCCAC) State Championship.

I was concerned moving into the Bulldog's 2009 Fall season as most of our sophomores moved on and our team had a healthy number of freshman players, but we started them off immediately with the Epstein Hitting System drills and after playing all four-year schools during our Fall season, the numbers again speak for themselves:
 
Team Batting Average:  .351
Team Slugging Percentage:  .498
 
I am very encouraged going into the 2010 Spring campaign with these numbers.  Each player is working hard and developing a great swing using your techniques. — Ray McDonald, Assistant Baseball Coach 
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Evan Pickett
18
Kelso, WA
 Jake and Mike,

Having worked with your videos for about 18 months prior to your hitting camp, it gave us all a better understanding of rotational hitting. Combining the video program with the camp put all the pieces together and I believe we accomplished so much more at the camp than starting cold. Evan ended his 2009 season with 15 home runs, 6 triples and 8 doubles. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but Epstein Hitting has given us a solid foundation from which to build. Thanks again and we look forward to a follow-up camp.

Tom Pickett
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Jen Fisher
Head Coach, Metro State College
Denver, CO
 Metro State College's softball team, in its second year of existence and with no seniors on its roster, won the RMAC regular season and tournament championships to reach the NCAA Tournament. The Roadrunners finished with a record of 40-12 overall and 29-7 in the conference for head coach Jen Fisher.  The team tied the NCAA Division II record for home runs in a season with 98 and will return all 15 of its letterwinners for the 2010 season.

Mike's note: Kudos to Metro State Head Softball Coach Jen Fisher, one of the nation's brightest up and coming women's fastpitch coaches. Coaches using our rotational hitting system now hold the NCAA Division I and Division II home run records!
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Casey Landis
8
Norristown, PA
 Casey is hitting just over .700 in about 75 at bats for his travel team. Eight actual home runs over a fence.  We played over half our games on fields without fences or fences that were over 240’. He has around 22 doubles and 10 triples (most of these shots over 210’). Even his ground balls are not able to be fielded by the infielders.  He was actually intentionally walked. Unheard of and ridiculous for an 8 year old. In a tournament for another team he had 4 homeruns in 6 at bats; two in one inning as they batted around. Thanks, Matt

Accompanying note from Epstein Certified Instructor, Mike Creciun:
Mike and Jake: I received this email and photo from a father of an eight year old I taught this past winter. I was very worried taking on an eight year old, but his father was sure he could do it. He looks pretty good. — Mike C.

Mike's note: Mike Creciun is a four-year Epstein Certified Instructor located in Norristown, PA. He can be reached under the "Instruction" menu on our homepage.
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Dakota Lovins
11
Avondale, PA
 

Thought I'd let you know how Dakota did this year in Little League. During the regular season he led his team in hits and average, batting almost .700.

He also led his team in doubles and triples (no home-runs by anyone) and managed to only strike out only once the entire season. He made the All-Star team and proceeded to go 7 for 10 and led the All-Star team in hitting as well as extra base hits.

I am not saying that his swing is perfect, but the basic mechanics are visible even in an All-Star Little League playoff game with lots "on the line." What more could a dad ask for? Many thanks!

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Samantha Findlay
University of Michigan Alumnus
Joliet, IL
 

Hi Jake and Mike —

Samantha Finley is going to be on ESPN TV Monday at 10:00pm. She will be participating for the Taco Bell Legends Celebrity Softball during the All-Star game week in St. Louis. The softball professional league flew her out there to be in this event. Everybody is talking about her (Epstein) swing. She leads the pro league in home runs and RBIs. Her dad  has 7 kids on his 12u that went through learning the Epstein technique and they're doing great. Ijust wanted to let you know. — Bob Wilson

Mike's Note: Samantha is an Epstein Certified Instructor and can be reached under the  "Instruction" menu on our website.

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Olivia Fimbres
16
Fontana, CA
 Hi Jake and Mike -  Just wanted to share this pic with you guys. My daughter, Olivia, has been on a tear of late. Here is one of 3 HR's she hit in a tournament in Boulder, Colorado last week. I can tell you that without the knowledge that I have obtained through both of you she would not be where she is today. Looks like so far that Colorado State (among others) is very, very interested in her. But we will see in the fall. 

Thanks to both of you.  — Adam Fimbres

Mike's note: Adam is a three year Epstein Certified Instructor and can be reached on our website.
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Mike Lubanski
17
Collegeville, PA
 

Mike Lubanski named 2009 Gatorade Pennsylvania State High School Baseball Player of the Year

According to Gatorade, the annual award program is "now in its third decade of celebrating the nation’s best prep athletes, the Gatorade Player of the Year award has become the most prestigious accolade in high school sports.  The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one award-winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states...
 
Lubanski has been excelling on the national circuit throughout his high school career, and his athletic accomplishments include a Perfect Game USA 2009 Top 250 High School Prospect ranking, Top Prospect Team honors at the Perfect Game USA Atlantic Coast Top Prospects, Northeast Top Prospects, and National Underclassman Showcases, All-Tournament Team honors at the AAU Junior Olympics National Championship, All-Performance honors at the SelectFest College Prospect Showcase, and a 2009 Rawlings Northeast All-Region Team preseason selection. 
    
Lubanski—who will continue his education and baseball pursuits at Wake Forest University—was ranked as one of the top ten catchers at the Perfect Game National Showcase in Minneapolis, MN in 2008, and was one of just approximately 150 players from across the nation to compete at the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars (Cary, NC) and the East Coast Professional Baseball Showcase (Lakeland, FL).  He was a First-Team All-InterAc selection this past season, and helped lead Malvern Prep to its second state tournament title in the past three years. 
    
Lubanski joins Malvern Prep alums Ben Davis and Josh McKinley--two former First Round draft picks--to earn the State Player of the Year award.  Mike Lubanski's older brother, Chris, was the 2003 Gatorade National High School Baseball Player of the Year, and the First Round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals that same year, and currently plays in Triple A for the Omaha Royals of the Pacific Coast League.  Mike's younger brother, Joe, is a rising Junior at Malvern Prep.

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Adrian Gonzalez
San Diego Padres
San Diego, CA
 

Gonzalez finds going to a bigger bat was well worth the weight

By Tom Krasovic, Union-Tribune Staff Writer
Monday, May 18, 2009

Excerpt from the full article:

Hitters for many years have gravitated toward lighter and shorter bats, though the hitters themselves have gotten bigger and stronger.
 
“I would logically think it would be just the opposite,” said former A's slugger Mike Epstein, a coach to professional and amateur hitters and an advocate of bigger bats, "if married to [a]suitable [hitting] technique."

Epstein, in an e-mail, said hitters of previous eras tended to use bigger and heavier bats. He said his friend Ted Williams used a bat the same size as Gonzalez's. Dick Allen, a star slugger in the 1960s and '70s, wielded a 36-inch, 38-ounce club.

“Please don't mistake what I am saying here: Bat speed is important, very important,” Epstein said. “But only if the player's bat is the longest and heaviest he can personally use effectively.”

When considering a bat, hitters of Gonzalez's ilk are like master chefs, taking into account a variety of ingredients. Among those cited by Gonzalez are a hitter's type of swing, his ballpark, the lineup in which he plays and the power/control tradeoffs.

Sitting in the Padres clubhouse Saturday, black bat in hand, he expounded on why he went against the grain, so to speak, of smaller and lighter. “Everybody's unique,” he said. “Everybody's got to find out what works for him. It helped me, a lot. It allowed me to be more of a power hitter."

“Did it take away (batting) average? Maybe,” said Gonzalez, whose .304 batting average in 2006 also included above-average luck, according to some statistics. “You swing through more fastballs, especially up in the zone, so you may strike out more. It's definitely harder to check your swing with this bat. There's definitely a downside to it. I might strike out more.

“But with this bat, I use it because it helps me to be the type of player I need to be here.”

Mike's note: This season Gonzalez already has 15 home runs, an average of one per 9.5 at-bats, which also is first in the majors. His .629 slugging percentage is fifth in the league. 

Mike's note: Those who find this excerpt interesting, will also enjoy my article "What All Hitters Need To Know About Wood Bats." Click here to read it.

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Dillon Haupt
17
San Diego, CA
 Dillon Haupt Nearly Sweeps 2009 San Diego High School Awards

Update (6/12/09):
Ok, guys, almost a clean sweep of the post season awards:

  1. 1st team all CIF (Apparently just missed being the CIF Player of the Year)
  2. Eastern League Player of the Year
  3. 1st team Eastern League
  4. Union-Tribune Player of the Month for May
  5. Mira Mesa High School Biggest Bat Award, MVP, and Captain 
He has a bunch of scholarship offers on the table. I don't know how many times I can thank you but it'll never be enough. Where he'll be playing we're not sure but we are sure he'll be playing, thanks to you guys and his hard work.

Talk to you soon. — Steve


Update (5/25/09): 
I just wanted to give you an update on Dillon. As of tonight, he leads San Diego County in RBIs with 36 and is one behind the homerun leader with 8. He hit two tonight. He is batting somewhere around .571 with 20 doubles and 3 triples to go along with the 8 homers. He isn't really getting pitched to anymore and walks at least twice a game. Unbelievable year. The adjustments you made our last visit have taken him to a whole new level. Three of his homeruns have been over 450'.

Thank you guys again for all you do. He quotes your "effortless power saying" all the time because everyone says he isn't even swinging hard. The ball is just absolutely jumping off his bat. Jake, getting him to slightly come forward before the swing and getting the back knee moving towards the front, gets his hips through so fast that his bat speed is ridiculous.

Hope you guys are well. Thanks again. This game can be really fun. — Steve Haupt
 
Update (5/15/2009): Dillon is doing so well, the San Diego Union-Tribune ran a feature article on him. "Dillon credits private hitting coach Mike Epstein for much of his success. 'He changed my swing a lot,' " Haupt said. “Also, I appreciate the coaches here being patient with me. I struggled a bit early on before I broke through last year.” Read the full article.

Mike's note: Dillon's appreciation of his coach havng patience with him during his learning curve are a key to his success. Hitters need time to burn in new muscle memory and make the personal adjustments necessary to compete. We hear too many instances where this is not the case; players are asked to be "perfect" overnight. Sadly, Mother Nature doesn't work that way. I salute Dillon's coach for making the "good and welfare" of his players a number one priority.

Mike's note
We appreciate the parents that send us periodic updates on the progress of their youngsters. Many of our students really do great—like Dillon—but we don't get the "news" to congratulate them....

 

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Eastern CT State University
Willimantic, CT
 Hi Jake,

I was on your website and I wanted to share with you, that Eastern has used your drills starting in 2006 and really the numbers speak volumes.  We do your 3 drills from the video every day and for pregame. It has worked for us and the players really believe in the technique. I have worked with the New England Riptide pro softball team as well and taught the drills to a few players. They really took off in a short period of time. If you would like any more info on our performance and what we do, shoot me an email. 

Again, the numbers speak for themselves and I want to thank you for helping us get there. 

Diana Pepin
Head Softball Coach
Eastern Connecticut State University
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David Towarnicky
20
Appalachian State University Boone, NC
 March 15, 2009: David Towarnicky was the catalyst of both scoring stanzas for Appalachian State, as he led off the fifth with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly, then closed out the ASU scoring with a two-run blast in the seventh. The junior first baseman was just a double shy of hitting for the cycle and finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs.
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Katie Moosic
15
Hummelstown, PA
 March 14, 2009: Here's a great photo of Katie Moosic hitting a home run. It doesn't get much better than this. Way to go, Katie!

Mike's note: Katie's dad, Frank, is a long-time Mike Epstein Certified Hitting Instructor living in Hummelstown, PA. His contact information can be found under Instruction>Find an Instructor>Then click on the state of Pennsylvania.
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Willamette U. Baseball Team
Salem, OR
 Willamette University achieved a .308 team batting average last season and returns seven of its top 10 hitters. The Bearcats led NCAA Division III in home runs per game (1.65 avg.), after blasting 66 homers in 40 contests. WU ranked 25th in the country in team slugging percentage (.518) and also achieved 66 doubles, nine triples and 114 extra-base hits. Senior first baseman Kyle Stalker is back to lead the team on offense. He ranked first in Division III in home runs per game last spring with 22 homers in 39 games (0.56 per game). He finished second in the nation in runs batted in per game (1.62) and was seventh in slugging percentage (.844). Stalker was named Northwest Conference Player of the Year and was chosen Third Team All-America by the American Baseball Coaches Association. He established WU single season records for home runs and runs batted in (63). He also holds the school record for career home runs (36).

Mike’s note: “Mike, Five years ago you came to Salem, Oregon, to give a presentation for North Salem High School at Willamette University. I was the Head Coach at Willamette, and you allowed me to observe your weekend camps. I resigned my position last September for a number of reasons, but I have been meaning to tell you that when we adopted most of what you advocated at that time, we had the nation’s top home run hitter and we also led the country in home runs as a team. Our guys finally figured it out.”

Matt Allison
Assistant Baseball Coach
Menlo College
Atherton, CA
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Hunter Owen
 

5/22/2009:

Owen Named to 2009 ABCA/Rawlings Div. III All-America Team

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. -- Senior outfielder Hunter Owen of Millsaps College picked up his second national honor of the week as he was selected to the 2009 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division III All-America Team on Friday.

The Jackson native became the first Major in school history to be named a three-time D3baseball.com All-American on Wednesday and now is a three-time ABCA All-American.

5/20/2009:

Owen Earns 2009 All-America Honors for Third Time

APPLETON, Wisc. -- Senior outfielder Hunter Owen capped off a stellar four-year career on Wednesday, as he was named to the D3baseball.com All-America Team. Owen becomes the first player in school history to be named a three-time All-American.

In starting all 44 games, Owen hit .387 on the year with a team-best 56 runs, 13 homers, 43 walks and a .755 slugging percentage.  He also added 60 hits, including two run-scoring hits in a 12-5 loss to No. 7 Carthage College in the NCAA Regionals, to become the seventh player in Millsaps history to join the prestigious 200-hit club.

In all, Owen closes his Millsaps career with a pair of school records, including 41 home runs and 186 runs driven in.  He also finished his career tied for first in doubles (55) and total bases (387), second in walks (123), third in batting average (.382), fourth in stolen bases (65), t-fourth in hit-by-pitches (40) and seventh in hits (201).

Update (2/15/09): Senior Hunter Owen's walk-off home run on the first pitch he saw from Teddy Smoyer in the bottom of the 10th sent Millsaps to a thrilling 2-1 Sunday. Owen's bomb to leftfield in 20 mph winds blowing straight in from center was the game-winner and the 30th home run of his career (third all-time at Millsaps).

Mike's note: Hunter's dad, Doug, is a five-year Epstein Certified Hitting Instructor residing in Jackson, MS. You can contact Doug on our Certified Instructos page.

 

 

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Justin Byrd
17
Arapahoe HS - Littleton, CO
 

Update (6/06/09):

Justin Byrd Named to 2009 Colorado 5A All-State First Team

Update (4/28/09):

Jake and Mike,
...want to give you the final 2009 regular season numbers for Justin:

G AB R H 2B HR TB  SLG OBP 
19 58 22 31  12  7  64 1.103  .614

He had a terrific senior year and ended up leading the team in almost every important category. With one more double and one additional hit, he would have broken the all time school records for doubles and on-base percentage. (He already owns the RBI record) We'll have to see where he ends up in the final State numbers. It's pretty certain he's got the top average for the big-school catchers.

So anyway, you guys have been the best! In retrospect, putting him through the 7-Day instructional course before he started high school was one of smartest baseball decisions we've ever made. Thanks for so patiently helping him learn to hit with a "big-time" swing. —Rick

Update (3/25/09:
Just a quick update on a pretty auspicious start...in the first game of the spring, in his first 5 at bats against Ralston Valley HS, Justin went 4 for 5 with 3 consecutive home runs. He hit one to right center, one to center and a huge one to left center. Nothing like getting his Junior year off to a fast, confidence-building start, huh? It never would have happened without your patient and outstanding instruction. Thanks, Rick

Update (11/18/08):

I honestly do not believe that until Justin began hitting instruction with you three years ago that he had even a remote chance to get a baseball scholarship to some college - let alone a Division 1 school like Cal-Berkeley! I don't know how to thank you enough. - Rick Byrd

Justin is pictured with Mike at his official signing. Coincidentally, Mike is an alumnus of Cal-Berkeley.  

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Quinn Salmon
 

Quinn Salmon named to the 2008 SCAC Baseball All-Tournament Team

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Holly Tankersley
 Tankersley's solo homer propels upstart La.-Lafayette past Florida 

OKLAHOMA CITY — Holly Tankersley (left) hit a solo home run to center field off NCAA wins leader Stacey Nelson in the eighth inning Thursday as Louisiana-Lafayette opened the Women's College World Series with a 3-2 upset of top-seeded Florida.

Tankersley, who hit her 22nd home run of the season, became the first player to hit a ball into the new 34-foot tall outfield bleachers at Hall of Fame Stadium. She reached for a pitch tailing away on the outside part of the plate and drove it into the front row of the stands.

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Kevin Sandberg
 

Sandberg Hits 20th Round Tripper

Senior Kevin Sandberg tied the school record with three home runs in his final home game at Jackson Field, including his first career grand slam. Sandberg now has 20 home runs on the year and now ranks 12th in NCAA Division I with 0.42 round-trippers per game and is 16th with his total of 20.

Sandberg Does It Again
Senior Kevin Sandberg broke both the career hit and RBI records in the final series at home against Texas-Pan American. He now has 235 hits and 183 RBI. He also owns the records for at bats (738), doubles (55), total bases (425) and is second in home runs (43) and tied for fourth with 157 runs scored and 101 walks.

Update (5/10/2009):
One year later and Kevin is still dominating his conference:
GREELEY, Colo.—Senior Kevin Sandberg went 4-for-5 with three home runs and nine RBIs (one away from his school record) in his final home game to lead Northern Colorado over Texas-Pan American in Greeley. Sandberg hit a solo shot in the second inning, then followed with the first grand slam of his career in the third and hit a two-run homer in the eighth. His final home run gave him a school single season record-tying 20. 

Kevin Sandberg Named to All-Independent First-Team

June 3, 2008: GREELEY, Colo. — In a vote by the head baseball coaches and sports information directors of Division I Independent baseball teams, Northern Colorado junior Kevin Sandberg was named to the 2008 All-Independent First Team. Sandberg (Aurora, Colorado) earned First-Team honors as the designated hitter/utility player. He hit .332 on the year, leading the club with 22 doubles and 11 home runs. His 22 doubles ties for third all-time at Northern Colorado and he now has 44 for his career, which is tied for second on the career charts. He also paced the team with 58 RBI and had a slugging percentage of .600, playing in 52 of the team's 54 contests. This is Sandberg's second honor as he was also an honorable mention selection in 2006.

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Meredith Owen
15
Jackson, MS
 

Mississippi All-State Softball First Team
May 20, 2009

Meredith Owen
Jackson Prep, P/IF, Junior

Was 31-7 on the mound for the Lady Patriots last fall and batted .618 with 19 doubles, two triples, 12 homers and 49 RBIs.
 
Update (8/25/08):

Through 14 games of High School fast pitch ball this fall, Meredith is 30 for 45 with 3 HRs, 14 doubles and 0 K’s.  Many of the doubles have hit the fence on the fly or bounced over it. It is amazing how hard she is hitting the ball.  The SEC schools here are already looking at her. - Doug Owen

Update (9/10/08):
Meredith hit her 11th HR of this fall season yesterday, a walk-off grand slam. Including summer travel ball, she has hit 19 HRs this year. Meredith has been asked to play with the Germantown, TN Red Devils Gold team next summer (2009). This team won the NAFA u-18 “Elite” national tournament in Sulphur, LA this year.

Update (12/11/08):

Meredith was recently offered a full ride to Stetson University. ($40,000/year) and she just committed yesterday. She is very excited. It is a dream come true for her. The coach loves the way she swings the bat and her success at the plate this year had a direct part in all of this (at $40G a year she will be making more than most minor leaguers). Thanks for everything. - Doug Owen

Update (12/28/08):
Congratulations to Meredth on her acceptance of a softball scholarship to Stetson University!!

Mike's note: Doug Owen is a five-year Epstein Certified Hitting Instructor located in Jackson, MS.

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Amy Weinberg
15
Pleasant Valley, NY
 

Mike and Jake,
 
I wanted to let you know that Amy has tried out for -- and made! -- one of the East Coast's premier 18U ASA Gold teams, TNT GOLD (she's still only 15).
 
At the tryout, Amy was hitting in a cage.  After two swings, the coach stopped the practice and told his team to watch Amy swing, particularly the way she was keeping her hands inside the ball and the position of her back elbow.  The coach said she has some of the best hitting mechanics he has ever seen, and this is a man who has coached for years at the top level of softball.
 
This is due to the training she received at your hitting camps and, primarily, eight months of working with Joe Espinosa in Danbury.  We can't say enough good things about Joe.
 
I just wanted to let you know how well your system works!! -Stephen Weinberg 

Mike's note: Joe Espinosa is a four-year Epstein Certified Hitting Instructor located in Ridgefield, CT.